During my personal devotions this morning, I found another gem. I call these "gems" because they are powerfully valuable. For so long, religion demanded that we squelch our feelings and emotions. Many of us grew up in an environment where if we "felt" anything, it was declared a lack of faith. Extremists labeled us as faithless if something bad happened to us. So those with situations were shunned by religious folks who silently shook their heads instead of offering a prayer and a hand up. Hopefully, you don't have a clue what I am talking about. But for those who do - finding out that our Bible heroes actually had feelings and emotions is helpful. Their faith carried them through their struggles - not around them.
So, this morning, as I was reading a familiar passage in Lamentations 3, I found this phrase that stuck out to me. I was turning to read once again about how God's mercies (plural) are new every morning. I found a passage very similar to the one we shared in yesterday's devotion. Yesterday, Job poured out his heart as he shared memories of the life he'd lost. He was raw and real. Today, I found Jeremiah doing the exact same thing. So, it's not a sin to grieve.
Jeremiah talks about sorrow, bitterness, and being walled in and bound with heavy chains in Lamentations 3. Take a couple of minutes to read this chapter, and you'll see Jeremiah pouring it all out before God. What better place is there to dump our thoughts and emotions where they are all over the place? I'm so glad it's not forbidden!
In verses 19 and 20, Jeremiah says his memories are bitter and hurtful. He says, I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Now, if you've never grieved over loss, you may not understand. Even during the pandemic, there was much unexpressed grief. We lost our lifestyles, and our norms, something very common to today's caregivers, yet the world suddenly had to share in our experience. While it's okay to feel those losses and grieve them, we don't want to set up camp there. That's why we pour them out to God.
After Jeremiah expresses his deep sense of loss, he says this: Yet I still dare to hope. (NLT) Then, he begins to talk about how God's mercies are renewed each morning - just for us! As I read and reread this passage, I dared myself to hope today. Did you ever dare your friends to do something when you were a kid? Boy, did I get in some binds because I couldn't turn down a dare! Lol. So, I dare you today to hope and trust God today.
Today, I declare that I will hope one more time. I will reach out of my emotional cave and grab hold of His hand and allow Him to lift me up to live today. While my emotions are raw and loss is real, I refuse to give in under the load. I'll turn to God today for my hope, life, strength, direction, and help. I'll remind myself that He is faithful - still. So, I can trust Him and hope in Him for one more day. Will you join me?
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